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Tag: Iraq

US Intervention in Syria

US Intervention in Syria

Pressures are increasing on President Barack Obama to intervene militarily in the Civil War in Syria, a war that seeks to topple the dynasty that has ruled Syria for generations with brutal and undemocratic procedures. The risks that are holding back Obama on Syria are similar to those faced by the United States in its failed interventions in other Arab countries, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan where billions of dollars and thousands of lives were wasted in American attempts to…

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We May Never Know Why

We May Never Know Why

We may never know why the brothers Tsarnaev performed their murderous actions at the Boston Marathon. These men, we imagine were sick and distant but before the murders they seemed to be one of us. How do small numbers of young men become radicalized? How do they lose their humanity and become killers without conscience, disaffected and apart? Some of these educated young people did evil things. Others did great things. Sometimes they were the same kids. Sometimes a young…

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The Wars on Libya

The Wars on Libya

The current attack on Libya by the United States is not the first. According to the authoritative Library of Congress, the attack is the second such war; the first was fought intermittently between 1800 – 1815 against the so-called Barbary States of North Africa led by Tripoli. The war was never declared by the US House of Representatives as required by the U.S. Constitution. The Library of Congress study analyzed the 250 wars fought by the US and reported that…

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Out of Libya

Out of Libya

Recently at West Point, President Obama’s Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that “any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.” Gates was opposing any US intervention – big or little – in the civil war in Libya – but here we go again. At that time war talk about Libya came from the architects of the misbegotten…

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Maintaining US Hegemony

Maintaining US Hegemony

Robert M. Gates, US Secretary of Defense, wrote in Foreign Affairs, “The United States is unlikely to repeat a mission on the scale of those in Afghanistan or Iraq any time soon – that is, forced regime change followed by nation building under fire.” This statement is close to admitting that the invasions were mistakes, that the dangers they were designed to suppress were not commensurate with the cost of suppression. One might then ask, why not bring the troops…

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Military Influence in the US

Military Influence in the US

In this period of American military dominance, generals and admirals have acquired influence well beyond the battlefield. Four-Star General David Petraeus, chief of the US Central Command, oversees US military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest of the greater Middle East. He is the likely choice to become the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he will again be in the public spotlight. His recent lower profile was suggested by the Obama White House. His…

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America’s Soft Power

America’s Soft Power

The United States cannot solve the problems of the world on its own, and the world cannot solve them without the United States. As the world’s only remaining superpower, America has the ability to affect the behavior of other nations through coercion, economic strength and the power of attraction. Hard power relies on coercion and raw economic power. Soft power influences others through public diplomacy, broadcasting, exchange programs, development assistance, disaster relief, exchange of ideas and culture – everything from…

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Don’t Let Them Do It Again

Don’t Let Them Do It Again

The same neo-conservatives who promoted the mistaken war in Iraq, are now urging President Barack Obama to greatly increase the number of American troops in Afghanistan and to stay there as long as it takes to conquer that country and defeat the native resistance. Led by William Kristol, the same ideologues who insisted that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass distraction and was involved with Al Qaeda, both not true, have sent an open letter to the White House describing…

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Thank You, George Will

Thank You, George Will

Suddenly, American popular opinion is turning against the war in Afghanistan. And the catalyst is the conservative columnist, George Will, who shook up the establishment by writing in his nationally syndicated column that U.S. “forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small potent special force units, concentrating on the porous 1500 mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually…

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The Devil in the Details

The Devil in the Details

Despite President Barack Obama’s brilliant performance at his primetime press conference on health care, Republicans and some conservative Democrats are balking at the details of the proposed legislation. But the devil is not in the details. It is in the commitment of the nation to the national health. The president needs to activate the conscience of America to take care of all of its citizens. The president needs to challenge the country to declare that health care is a natural…

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